The Promise

You know, it's always nice to travel. To drive a few hours and visit friends or family, you know. Reminisce, catch up, reconnect with folks you haven't seen in a while, all that. The happy, happy Hallmark moments that everyone recognizes as being so precious. The stuff that gets dropped into a montage in ads for Maxwell House International Coffees. That's why we pretend the trip is about.

But really, as toy collectors, we get something else out of it - the promise. The promise of new toy stores, new malls, new retail outlets unplundered by our regular shopping excursions. There's nothing quite like the little rush you get as you walk up to the door of a Toys R Us you've never been to before. What will it have? What kind of selection? Does it have new stuff you haven't seen at home yet? Old things you thought were sold out? There could be anything behind those sliding glass doors.

Even if you only go to your local KB store once a month, you have a pretty solid idea of what you're going to find there. You go the mall at your grandmother's house, though, and there could be anything waiting for you. That, my friends, is the promise. The promise of what's to come, the promise of what might be, and that's why we really like to travel.

It's a dirty little secret shared by toy collectors. We don't even talk about it with other collectors, and we certainly don't tell our friends or families. So they can keep on thinking that we drove two hours because it's nice to spend time with them; you and I, we know the truth. It's wonderful to see you again, cousin, but there's a Suncoast over there, so I have to get going.

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